“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
“There is nothing I would not do for those who are really my friends. I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.”
I’m not the only one, guys! Here are links to other bloggers who are going through the same thing. Their like and follow features have been permanently disabled by Automattic because they either don’t approve of their content or don’t approve of them as people. It’s just another attempt of Big Tech to bully and censor bloggers and users. Sadly, Automattic and WordPress have joined in the Big Tech tyranny.
No doubt many other bloggers will fall into this dragnet and I pray for them. They’re starting out slow, I believe. But this will only get worse as more and more bloggers will be added to the hit list in the coming years.
This may result in my blog being taken down. But I’m not concerned at the moment as I have all my posts back-up in Word docs on a flash drive. However, I think we should all be concerned with, or, at the very least, aware of these unprofessional and unethical practices.
by Barbara Crane Navarro
Why is this issue not resolved for so many bloggers, WordPress? Why are you inflicting this bizarre punishment? – YA NO ME PUEDEN GUSTAR LOS BLOGS DE NADIE EN WordPress TAMPOCO … 🙁 I can no longer like anyone’s blogs on WordPress either… 🙁 – This is STILL Happening to at least THREE of us! The-Not-Being-Able-To-Like-Any-Blogs-Saga-Continues! – Episode 3 — Tiny Life — Chateau Cherie – — Tiny Life — mimismo
by Alessandra Scarpulla of Tiny Life
YA NO ME PUEDEN GUSTAR LOS BLOGS DE NADIE EN WordPress TAMPOCO … 🙁 I can no longer like anyone’s blogs on WordPress either… 🙁 – This is STILL Happening to the TWO of us! The-Not-Being-Able-To-Like-Any-Blogs-Saga-Continues! – Episode 3 — Tiny Life — Chateau Cherie – — Tiny Life
by Ana Maria of Mimismo
Low self-esteem: what it is, how to spot it, and how to be more confident.
Low self-esteem can hold you back from your dreams. Read on to find out what coaches, therapists, and psychologists have to say about some surprising signs of low self-esteem. Plus, find out what you can do to be more confident.
The American Psychological Association defines self-esteem as:
“the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive. It reflects a person’s physical self-image, view of his or her accomplishments and capabilities, and values and perceived success in living up to them, as well as the ways in which others view and respond to that person.”
Self-esteem is how you see yourself and how well you like yourself. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is your belief in yourself and your abilities. You can have high self-confidence but low self-esteem. For example, you might believe in your social skills and know that you’re good at making friends (high self-confidence), but you might not like yourself (low self-esteem).
Even though they’re different, learning how to be more confident can help you build self-esteem, since it can affect how you view yourself. If you see yourself as capable and skilled, you might appreciate yourself more.
Below are some signs of low self-esteem that might surprise you.
If you find that you’re constantly saying “yes” to things you don’t want to do, this could be a sneaky sign of low self-esteem.
“When we are not feeling confident and sure of ourselves, we compromise our boundaries and comfortability for other people,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Janika Veasley, LMFT. “We don’t believe that we can advocate for ourselves and still maintain the relationship. However, the more sure and confident we are, the more we hold onto our boundaries and connection with others.”
Everyone loves the class clown, but dig a little deeper, and that jokester might actually be dealing with negative self-perception.
“Comedy is usually born from a seed of tragedy that is well cared for and nurtured,” explains life coach Kate Chapman. “If the humor is self-deprecating or cuts another person down, that is a sign of very low self-esteem on the part of the joke teller. Humor can be used in all sorts of ways. If it’s being used as a weapon—making fun of a person, as opposed to a situation—then it’s being used by someone who has a low sense of self. Once a person knows what it’s like to esteem themselves (and also others), their humor most always changes into something that uplifts, rather than cuts down.”
Constantly putting yourself down, even if it’s in a joking manner, is yet another sign that you might not value yourself. If you don’t think highly of yourself, it’s easy to shoot down compliments or make fun of yourself as a way to beat others to the punch.
People with low self-esteem are especially prone to thinking they’re bad or that they’ve done something wrong. To compensate for this, they’ll apologize frequently, even when they don’t need to. For example, someone with low self-esteem might be having a friendly conversation with someone and then suddenly say, “Ugh, sorry I’m talking so much.”
Can’t take a compliment? While others might think you’re being modest, it could be that you don’t esteem yourself.
“Some people may see it as humility, but people with low self-esteem tend to find it difficult to accept positive feedback or compliments because they don’t see themselves positively,” explains clinical psychologist Brian Wind, Ph.D., the chief clinical officer at JourneyPure treatment center.
Remember, self-esteem is about valuing yourself and seeing your qualities as positive. When you lack these things, you’ll fall prey to constant self-comparison. Someone with low self-esteem might obsess over the positive qualities others have and think that they lack these same positive qualities. This constant self-comparison feeds that negative self-view and lowers self-esteem even more.
Ever met someone who seemed so arrogant that you were sure they thought they were the greatest thing since sliced bread? Well, it might actually be the opposite.
“When we meet arrogant people, we often get frustrated as we cannot understand why they think so highly of themselves,” says Ray Sadoun, an addiction advocate at OK Rehab. “However, they are often secretly insecure. They mask their low self-esteem by pretending to be extremely confident, which throws people off the scent.”
If a friend asked you to take up surfing with them or join them in a pottery class, would you be excited by the opportunity to try something new? Or would you shrink from the potential to fail?
“A lack of openness to trying new things could be attributed to past discouragement or failure when things were attempted that didn’t end well for us,” says Erin Dierickx, a licensed marriage and family therapist associate. “Perhaps we tried a new activity but became embarrassed after not succeeding after the first or many tries. Or maybe we were told by someone we know, love, and trust, particularly at a young age, that we weren’t meant to do something or weren’t very good at it.”
Being sensitive can be a superpower, but if you find that you’re frequently hurt by someone else’s words or actions, it might be an indicator that you’re struggling with low self-esteem. Why? If you liked who you are, your sense of self wouldn’t feel threatened by external factors.
“People with high self-esteem feel good enough about themselves that they don’t take things personally,” says empowerment coach Patricia Heitz.
Do you frequently take on more than you can handle or try to prove yourself to others? You might be overcompensating, and that might be a sign of low self-esteem.
“There is usually an extreme external focus of needing attention, wanting to be in charge, accepting more of a workload than others, feeling compelled to say yes when they should be saying no,” explains licensed mental health counselor Justin Baksh, LMHC, MCAP, the chief clinical officer at Foundations Wellness Center.
When I asked mental health professionals for causes of low self-esteem, one common theme emerged: there are many causes of low self-esteem, and they all have to do with adversity.
“Some things that can contribute to low self-esteem can include abuse, trauma, difficult social experiences, and failing at something you wanted to succeed at,” says licensed professional counselor Mikela Hallmark, LPC.
Too much of a good thing can also cause low self-esteem. Research published in Child Development found that receiving inflated praise during childhood can lower a person’s self-esteem because they’re worried about living up to those high expectations. Instead, it’s better if parents treat their children warmly.
“When a person is not heard nor acknowledged by others, it is difficult for that person to develop a solid sense of self,” explains licensed marriage and family therapist Ashley Hudson, LMFT. “They are attempting to be unique and try on many hats when developing their identity. If the child or teenager is not validated nor acknowledged for the unique self they are, other views of themself creep in and can potentially lead to low self-esteem.”
In a meta-analysis published in 2019 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the American Psychological Association found that positive relationships, social support and social acceptance boost self-esteem. But the inverse is also true: having low self-esteem could negatively affect relationships.
Study author Michelle A. Harris, Ph.D., of The University of Texas at Austin noted that, because of this reciprocal relationship, if someone struggles with low self-esteem or has poor social relationships, clinical interventions can help break the cycle.
Speaking of positive social relationships, belonging to multiple social identity-based groups can boost self-esteem more than friendships alone. That’s according to research by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and published in PLOS One.
By looking at groups of school children, the elderly, and the formerly homeless, researchers found that, consistently, multiple group memberships predicted self-esteem, but a large network of friends did not. However, this was only true when the groups contributed to the participants’ sense of self (identity-based groups).
A 2020 survey of 3,000 adults in Japan found that more frequent use of greenspace and views of greenery through windows at home was linked to increased levels of self-esteem during the pandemic.
“Our results suggest that nearby nature can serve as a buffer in decreasing the adverse impacts of a very stressful event on humans,” said lead author Masashi Soga, Ph.D., of The University of Tokyo.
So the next time you’re feeling down about yourself, try savoring the view from your window. If you don’t have a good view of nature around you, walk to a park if you can.
Coaches are professionals who are experienced in unearthing the root problems that are holding you back from realizing your full potential. They’ll discuss your goals and struggles, as well as ask questions that help you come to new realizations. When you find the right coach, they can truly help you gain perspective that you wouldn’t get on your own.
If your low self-esteem is frequently interfering with your life, a good place to start is speaking with your physician or contacting a licensed therapist. Both are qualified to address and diagnose mental health concerns and help develop a treatment plan, or at least, they can point you in the right direction. Even a routine checkup with your family doctor is a completely appropriate time to bring up self-esteem concerns; they can refer you to the right provider if necessary.
Confidence comes from seeing proof of your ability, but the problem is, being good at something the first time you try it is unrealistic. To build confidence, give yourself some grace and start small when setting goals.
For example, instead of saying you want to run a marathon when you’ve never run before, start with buying a pair of running shoes. Then, break them in by walking around your neighborhood. Gradually, you can build up to short runs around the block, running a 5K, a 10K, and so forth, until your body is capable of doing a marathon. By starting small, you give yourself a boost of confidence each time you achieve that small milestone until, eventually, you achieve the big goal.
Positive affirmations such as “I am loved” or “I can do this” are usually touted as effective ways to boost self-esteem—but there’s a caveat: they may make those with low self-esteem feel worse. That’s according to research by psychologist Joanne Wood, Ph.D. In one experiment, she and her colleagues randomly assigned participants to a neutral-focus or positive-focus condition. Both groups were given a positive statement (“I am a lovable person”). The positive-focus group was asked to focus on how the statement was true for them, while the neutral-focus group was asked to focus on how the statement was true and not true for them.
The results? Participants with low self-esteem reported feeling worse when they were told to focus on how the statement was true for them (positive-focus group) when compared to the neutral focus. For those with high self-esteem, though, there was no change, regardless of positive or neutral focus on the statement.
If positive affirmations work for you, great! But if they make you feel worse, try more neutral affirmations. For example, instead of saying, “I am a generous person,” say something that can’t be disputed, like, “Tessa made it to her doctor’s appointment because I drove her there.” That way, it’s not a generalization but a concrete example of generosity. While you might balk at being called “generous,” you can’t dispute that Tessa got to her appointment because you took the time and energy to drive her there.
As you can see, low self-esteem can block so many areas of your life, and there are many potential root causes. But thankfully, you can build both self-confidence and self-esteem. Sometimes, you just need a little support and guidance.
Our programs were designed by world-renowned coaches. Sessions only take 5-15 minutes. Get started for free with your personalized program now.
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“Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it.”
“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”
The next morning, the newlyweds took a flight to the Florida Keys for their honeymoon. Having only flown once, plane rides was still a new experience for Chas, and she loved it. Charlie made sure to give his new wife the window seat. The flight from Memphis to Miami was a two-hour flight giving Chas plenty of time to admire the view of the clouds and earth below. Just a few years before, she never thought that she would see outside the city limits of Memphis and now, having been to the Maldives with her girlfriends just four months prior, she was getting the privilege of flying to another tropical destination.
Chas could not keep her head out of the window. She stared in awe at the sea of billowing clouds just below them. The morning sun shone brightly in the East.
“Oh, Charlie look at those clouds! It looks like there’s no end to them! “Chas said in amazement.
Charlie just sat there and smiled, enjoying seeing his new wife gaze out of the window and stare out into the vast sea of clouds with child-like wonder. He beamed, pleased to be the man who was giving Chas the pleasure to experience things she had always dreamed of experiencing but had never had the chance. He watched, feeling very much like a superhero as Chas continued gazing at the world below, cooing over the view.
“Wait until you see the ground. It looks nice too!” Charlie told her.
Soon, the clouds had reduced to only a few white speckles and Chas could see the earth below.
“Wow!” She marveled in a whisper.
The ground looked like a vast quilt with squares, rectangles, and other shapes of different colors of green, brown, red, and orange. The roads were just tiny, bright white lines drawn across the squares. She could also see bodies of water which looked like small mirrors of glass reflecting the sun. Then she looked across the blue sky to see the occasional distant white trails of vapor left behind by other aircraft that had left their mark. Chas could not get enough.
She couldn’t see any people or automobiles because they were too far up. But during the descent before landing, Chas could finally focus on the automobiles that moved down the veinous network of highways and roads below. They reminded her of a long trail of ants from an anthill, looking for a picnic.
After they landed, the newly married couple rushed through the crowded airport, through the exit and finally caught a cab. It would be a few hours before their Cessna was scheduled to depart for Key West and they decided to do some shopping at a few of the marketplaces near the airport. On the way back to the airport to board the Cessna, Chas stared out the window, mesmerized by the outside surroundings.
“My, gosh! The last time I saw so many palm trees was in the Maldives with Tori and the girls back in December! Oh, I just love palm trees!” She gushed with the excitement of a child on Christmas Morning.
Charlie smiled, loving the fact that Chas appreciated life more than most women. Because she had experienced such a hard way in life, she never took anything for granted like most people tend to. Her appreciation for her new blessings was as pure as the heart of a newborn babe and Charlie only wanted to give her more.
“Wait until we get to the beach!” He said softly, running his fingers through her curls.
The overweight but friendly cabby looked at them through his rear-view mirror.
I take it that it’s your first time being in Florida,” he chirped.
“It is.” Chas answered back.
“This is our honeymoon. I’m taking her to the beach this afternoon,” Charlie told him.
“Congratulations, both of you,”
“I just bought a swimsuit, cover and a couple of beach towels,” Chas chirped as she dug through her shopping bags and took out one of the pretty beach towels to show Charlie.
Charlie’s father had given them five thousand dollars spending money for a wedding present. Soon, the couple boarded the Cessna and were in the air again. Chas did just as she had done during the flight to Miami. She could not stop gazing out the window.
During the first day of their honeymoon, they checked into their hotel, then went shopping at a nearby shopping mall. They ate their meals in the hotel cafeteria. Later, they went to the beach. Chas had only seen the beach once and once was not enough. She had become addicted to the sights of white beaches, clear blue water, palm trees and sunny skies. Unable to keep her eyes off her new surroundings, Chas eyed the palm trees, then looked back at her husband.
“Where are the coconuts?” She asked him.
“I don’t know. Either it isn’t the right season for them, or we’re not far enough south. I think we have to be within the tropics and closer to the equator to see coconuts, honey,” he told her.
As they walked across the hot sand, Charlie carried two lawn chairs and Chas toted a bag carrying their beach towels, suntan lotion, and sunshades. He stopped and set up the lawn chairs, covering them with the beach towels while his bride stared in awe at the ocean in front of them. She could not believe how blue the water was. The ocean was a beautiful aqua color. And the sand on the beach was a snowy white color.
After setting up their spot on the beach and slathering each other down with suntan lotion, Charlie and Chas ran toward the ocean and got into the water, jumping the waves and bodysurfing. Wading chest-deep in the ocean, Chas looked down at her feet, completely amazed. The water was so clear, so free of sediment, it was as if she were looking through glass. She could see her feet and the white sand beneath them so clearly! She watched as a huge school of tiny fish swim around her ankles with their silvery scales and fins seeming to glisten in the light of the sun. When they grew tired of swimming, Charlie and Chas walked along the beach, hand in hand, listening to the seagulls cry and the crashing wave.
The newlywed couple spent their second, third, and fourth days on the beach, where they both sunbathed and swam, taking small breaks in between to rub each other’s backs down with suntan lotion. On the fifth and sixth days, they spent their time at an amusement park, riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy. The last night before going back to Tennessee, Charlie and Chas took a twilight stroll on the beach.
It was a beautiful night. The stars twinkled in the sky as the ocean breeze blew gentle gusts through their hair. A full moon lit up the sky like day and glinted beautifully on the ocean. They both felt inner peace while hearing the waves roll onto the sandy beach.
“Oh, Charlie! This is such a beautiful place. I don’t want to leave,” Chas cooed.
“I don’t either, honey. But we must go home tomorrow. We must pack so that we can move to Nashville to be near my family,” Charlie replied.
“Oh, well. Who knows? Maybe we can retire here one day,” Chas gushed.
“Ya never know,” Charlie said as he slipped his arm around her shoulders and they walked on.
The next morning, Charlie and Chas prepared to leave the Keys. It would be a honeymoon that they would never forget. The next two weeks were spent packing to move to Nashville. Charlie gave a notice of transfer to the MPD. He would be transferring to the Metro Nashville Police Department.
On his last day at the Memphis police department, Charlie was given a going away party by his fellow officers. His fellow officers would miss him very much. Charlie and Chas had already moved their belongings to Nashville, where Charlie’s father had them put into storage. Early the next morning, the happy couple left for their new home. On the way, Charlie and Chas talked and looked at the scenery. They made several stops along the way, Cuba Landing on the Tennessee River, Loretta Lynn’s place, the Buffalo River, all for sight-seeing.
“Before I left for the Maldives with the girls last December, I had never been outside of Memphis. Traveling is such a new experience for me, and I love it. I have always wanted to travel, to get out and see the world. And praise God! It’s happening now!” Chas said, beaming with excitement.
“Well, you and I are going to do a lot of traveling over the next few years. I promise you that,” Charlie said with a smile as he glanced at Chas off and on while driving down the interstate.
After about four hours of driving and making frequent stops, Charlie and Chas arrived in Nashville at about noon and spent the night in a hotel. After a refreshing nights’ sleep, Charlie and Chas drove to the home of Charlie’s’ family at around nine the next morning.
Chas was surprised to find that Charlie’s’ family was very wealthy.
Charlie drove out of the metropolitan area and into a countryside of rolling rolls and windy roads. After fifteen minutes of driving through country, Charlie made a turn and pulled onto a long driveway which was about a half-mile long. Chas looked ahead and could see a huge white plantation style mansion with swimming pool. She paused and gave Charlie a puzzled look.
“Is this where you grew up, Charlie?” She asked in amazement.
“It is,” Charlie answered with a smile.
The mansion sat on a huge dude ranch with several beautiful horses. In the front of the house was a huge porch and balcony, garnished by several white pillars. The Riddick’s owned well over three hundred acres of land. The vast acreage was a huge green carpet of grass. Off to the east of the house, on a hill sat a huge red barn with white trim. At the foot of the hill, on the east side of the barn, was the shady lot and stables where the horses were kept. The rest was just flat countryside for as far as Chas could see, with foothills barely visible on the horizon.
Maurice, Charlie’s’ father, was a big-time businessman. He was co-owner of Jarrett & Riddick Advertising. Charlie introduced his new bride to the maids of the Riddick household, Anita and Celestine. Chas was amazed but managed to contain it. She greeted the maids with a ‘hello’, smile and handshake, then looked at Charlie and smiled, wide-eyed and full of anticipation of their future together.
Afterwards, Charlie led Chas upstairs to their new bedroom, and the maids entered, carrying their suitcases and sat them down at the foot of the Alaskan king-sized bed before excusing themselves. Chas looked around the huge bedroom and noticed the fireplace, the huge bed, the huge private bathroom and the French doors which led outside. Chas walked over to the French doors and opened them to reveal a beautiful veranda furnished with white, wicker-style patio furniture.
“Oh my gosh! This is beautiful!” Chas gushed. She then turned to Charlie and he walked up to her and put his arms around her.
“Charlie, you never told me about any of this. I had no idea that you came from privileged beginnings,” she said in astonishment.
“You never asked,” he reminded her.
“Of course, I did. Remember? Off and on, I asked about how you grew up? What values you were taught, what school you went to…you know? Things like that,” Chas continued.
“But you never asked about our lifestyle and I just didn’t think to tell you,” Charlie replied.
“True. But anyone worth their salt wouldn’t ask questions like that. So, is this where we’re going to live?”
“For the time being. Until we find a place of our own.”
Charlie grabbed a blanket and took Chas around the estate. He showed her the stables where the horses were and introduced her to the ranchers who worked for the family. Chas was taken by the horses.
“The horses are beautiful,” Chas said as she stroked the mane of one of the horses.
“Maybe after dinner, we can go horseback riding. Are you game or lame?” Charlie offered with a grin.
“You know I’m game,” Chas chirped, “But I don’t know how to ride a horse, never even been on a horse.”
“I’ll teach you how or you can take lessons,” Charlie assured.
Charlie took Chas to the lake, where they sat on the blanket and talked, while watching the ducks swim on the water.
“Wow! I’m totally floored by all this! Back in Memphis, you and I both lived in crummy apartments, and I figured that when we got married, we’d live in just another crummy apartment,” Chas admitted. “Your family has so much, Charlie. I can’t help but wonder how they felt about your living in a two-room apartment?”
“Well, they didn’t like it, of course. But I’m not the type of guy who lives off my family’s fortune,” Charlie told her, “And besides, Mom and Dad haven’t always been this well off. Believe it or not, they both came from poverty. They grew up dirt poor.”
They got up, before Charlie took up their blanket and led Chas to the big red barn, where the two climbed up to the hay loft. There, Charlie spread the blanket across the plush, sweet-smelling hay. He and Chas laid across the blanket and nestled against one another. Charlie wrapped his arms around her and drew her nearer to him.
“My dad went into partnership with a guy he grew up with and they started a business together. My dad worked his tail off…I mean busted his hump to get us where we are now. It wasn’t always easy. My dad worked long hours to get the business of the ground…sometimes up to eighteen hours a day. There were years when dad was hardly ever home and it was hard on my mom and my older siblings.”
Chas listened attentively as he talked about life growing up. Charlie then looked down at his new wife and ran his fingers through her hair. As their lips touched, he cradled her cheek with one hand. Chas unbuttoned his shirt and pressed her lips against his chest. He loved her tenderly, caressing and cradling her as he showered her flawless face with kisses until she felt dizzy. Chas ran her fingers up his back and through his hair. After lovemaking, they lay beside each other in the afterglow and took a thirty-minute nap.
When it was close to dinnertime, Charlie and Chas got dressed and walked back to that thirty-six-room house. As they walked, Chas had some questions to ask Charlie.
“Charlie, I don’t understand. Not that I don’t appreciate your being a cop, but your family has so much. Why didn’t you just become a doctor, or a lawyer, or even a business man, like your father? I figured that most people that came from wealthy families usually followed in their parents’ footsteps,” she said softly.
“Well, it’s funny you said that. My parents did want me to go into the business field like Daddy. But my dream was to become a police officer. Ever since I was a small boy, I have wanted to be a cop,” Charlie said.
“I’ll bet that your parents were disappointed when you told them that you wanted to be a cop.”
“Yes. They were. But I couldn’t pick a career that I wouldn’t be happy with. No. Cops don’t get paid much. But it’s what I do best. It’s what I enjoy,” Charlie explained.
They stopped walking and gazed into each other’s eyes. Charlie cupped Chas’ face in his hands. Without saying a word, they continued to gaze into each other’s eyes.
When the happy newlyweds arrived back at the house, Anita was just putting dinner on the table. Charlie’s’ mother, Isabelle had already started to worry about them.
“Where have you two been? I haven’t seen hide nor hair of you two almost all day,” Isabelle complained.
“I was just showing Chas around the property,” Charlie replied.
Charlie had a large family. The entire family lived in the same household. There were Maurice and Isabelle, Charlie’s’ parents, and his oldest and alcoholic brother, Jim and his wife Lucretia. He had a second oldest brother, Jake and his wife, Katrina. And he had two sisters, Chelsea, who was married to Christopher, and Brooke, the baby of the family, who was single and in college.
“Charlie, son! Glad you and Chas could join us for dinner,” greeted Maurice.
They all sat down to dinner. After saying grace, the family enjoyed lobster, boiled shrimp, stuffed peppers, and zucchini squash. For dessert, Anita served cheesecake with blueberry topping.
When the happy couple arrived at the hotel, they stopped at the front desk and the clerk checked their reservations, then handed Charlie the key card to their room. After taking the elevator up to the seventh floor, the newlyweds arrived at the door of their hotel room. Charlie unlocked the door before picking Chas up and carrying her inside.
As soon as the door was shut behind them, Charlie took Chas into his arms and they both engaged in a long and passionate kiss. Charlie broke the seal and looked at his new wife.
“I will love you forever, sweetheart,” he said softly.
“Wait here, I’ll be right back,” she said.
Chas went into the bathroom while Charlie waited by the wedding bed. During the wait, Charlie changed into a masculine red satin robe, then called room service and ordered two glasses and a bottle of pink champagne on ice. Five minutes passed, then ten. When fifteen minutes passed, Charlie looked at his watch.
“Oh, Chas! I’m waiting, darling,” Charlie called out in a sing-song voice.
Suddenly, the door of the bathroom opened, and out stepped Chas dressed in a stunning white negligee. Charlie’s eyes widened as he beheld his wife’s beauty and how the negligee fit his wife’s svelte form. He gazed in admiration, as Chas twirled around the room, showing off her sexy white spaghetti string negligee, smoothing the bodice that hugged her trim waist with her hands, then placing her hands on her hips. She then stood there and gave her new husband a look which said, “Come hither”.
“You look beautiful,” he said softly.
“I’m glad you like it. You look very sexy in that robe.” Chas commented as Charlie approached her. She then wrapped her arms around him and planted a soft kiss on his lips. Charlie reached for the Bluetooth radio and turned on soft music, then danced slowly with his new wife.
“I love you, Mrs. Riddick,” he whispered.
At the sound of her new title and last name, Chas’ heart leapt in her chest as she continued to slow dance with her new husband.
“Say it again,” Chas pleaded softly as he twirled her.
“Ohhh, say it louder now!” Chas said in a playful voice.
“Mrs. Riddick.” Charlie repeated slower and softer as he gently pressed his forehead against hers.
“Ooo, I love the sound of that!” Chas moaned as she leaned her head against his chest.
Minutes later, they heard a knock at the door. Charlie answered it to find a man decked out in a tuxedo, pushing a cart atop of which sat two gleaming wine glasses and a bottle of bubbly champagne half buried in a silver bucket of ice. The porter rolled the cart into the room before Charlie politely tipped him.
“Thank you kindly,” Charlie said before the porter left, giving the newlyweds their privacy. Charlie then popped the cork with the corkscrew, shooting some fizz from the bottle, then filled both glasses half full. He handed one to his new bride.
“To a very long and beautiful life together,” he said, raising his glass.
“Cheers,” Chas cooed.
They clicked their glasses together and sipped their champagne. After putting his glass down, Charlie wrapped his arms around her and pressed his lips against hers repeatedly. They continued to stand in the middle of the hotel room, swaying to the slow, soft rhythm of the music. After turning the lights down low, Charlie hung the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the outer doorknob, then gently closed the door.
The Second Vow of Chastity Baker
“Okay! The church is booked, the reception is booked here at The Rotunda, the wedding cakes are ordered, my bridal gown and the bridesmaids dresses are ordered and ready, I have Charlie’s wedding ring…Oh Lord! What else? I know there are things I’m forgetting! Ugh!” Chas cried out of frustration, running around with the checklist in her hand, “Tori, what am I forgetting!”
“Chas! Calm down! Just sit down and rest, honey! We’re working on it! It’s all coming together! You’ll see!” Tori called back while helping to decorate the ballroom at the Rotunda.
“Great! And I want to make sure the wedding cake is complete in time!” Chas called back from the kitchen.
“Come on, Chas! Relax, girl!” Camille, another lady from the group urged. A third woman from the group, Emily gently grabbed Chas by the shoulders while Sandy, a fourth, pulled out a chair for Chas to sit in. Emily took Chas by the shoulders and gently guided her to the chair.
“Sit down! Rest! We’ve got this!” Emily urged as Chas took a seat, sighed and rubbed her forehead.
“I just want this wedding to be perfect!” She sighed.
“A perfect wedding is like a perfect world- there is no such thing,” Sandy reminded her.
“Oh, come on, I need positivity around me right now,” Chas whined.
“Girl, if you don’t hush, we’re going to have to put you on the next episode of ‘Bridezillas’!” Emily began.
“Alright, alright. You ladies are doing a fantastic job. I guess I’m a little nervous,” Chas admitted, chuckling.
“Honey, you’ve just got the pre-wedding jitters. We all get those.” Tori chirped, “My sister was a nervous wreck during the week before her wedding. Trust me, what you’re feeling is completely normal. That’s why we want you to take a breather.”
It was Springtime in Memphis and there were two weeks left before the big day arrived. Chastity Diane Baker, soon to be Mrs. Charles Riddick, was busy checking off her checklist of wedding necessities. Tori and the ladies from the S.A.S.H.E. (Students Against Sexual Harassment Everywhere) a group from the college Chas attended and whom held meetings every first Saturday of every month on campus, was busy helping Chas prepare for her upcoming wedding.
To save up for the coming wedding, Chas had taken a second job at the hospital as a nurses’ assistant. On top of two jobs, she was looking forward to starting Nursing School at the University of Tennessee – Nashville in the fall.
Finally, the big day arrived. Charlie’s’ family had make the three-hour trip from Nashville to Memphis, to attend the wedding. At eight that morning, Chas rose from her bed and walked over to her mirror and stared at her reflection for a moment, feeling blissfully happy. She could not believe that the most special day of her life had finally arrived.
“I’m finally going to be Mrs. Charles Riddick. Hmmmm, Chas Baker- Chas Riddick. That definitely has a nice ring to it. Chas Riddick!”
It was a beautiful morning with the sun shining brightly in the sky. The flowers were blooming and the sweet fragrance of spring filled the air. Birds were singing sweetly in the trees. Chas concluded that she and Charlie could not have picked a better day to get married.
She had to be at the church at ten o’clock. Earl would arrive to pick her up at nine thirty.
She showered and fixed her hair into a French bun and wisps of bangs in the front. She put on her make up, then slipped into her gown and put on her veil. Chas wanted to look perfect for this occasion.
When she was finished preparing herself for her husband to be, she looked in the mirror. Chas loved what she saw. She was decked in a snow white long flowing satin wedding gown with a laced bodice, long train, and V-shaped collar. Her veil was made of white pearls and lace. Before long, Earl arrived to take Chas to her wedding.
There were several guests at the wedding, including Lt. Jenkins and some of Charlie’s’ fellow officers. Sandra was there also.
When the wedding ceremony began, Earl escorted Chas down the aisle as the organist played ‘The Bridal March’. As Chas slowly walked down the aisle, she thought of her brother, Ricky.
“I wish he could be here for this,” She thought sadly, “My little brother should be walking down this isle with me. He should be the person giving me away to my husband, not Earl.” Chas had tried so hard to get her brother out of the situation he was in. She never believed for a second that Ricky wasn’t trying. Every time she had gone to Memphis to visit her brother, he had lost yet another crummy job and was still living with his girlfriend. And now he was so broke that he could not make the trip to be at her wedding and she knew Ricky really wanted to be there. How her heart ached! Chas only hoped that having to bounce from job to job was the worst of his problems.
The organist began playing Clarke’s “The Prince of Denmark’s March”. As she slowly made her way down the aisle between the rows of pews with Earl escorting her, Chas could see a beaming Charlie waiting at the alter with the minister, decked in his formal police uniform. When Earl and Chas arrived at the altar, Charlie joined arms with his bride and they both faced the minister. She slowed her breathing as the butterflies swarmed in her stomach.
The minister opened his Bible.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join this man and this woman in the holy bonds of matrimony…” began the minister.
As the minister continued, Charlie and Chas looked at each other and smiled. They were full of anticipation, so full of hope of things to come. Their future together looked so bright. The happy couple were so eager for the minister to get to the part where Charlie would kiss his bride. They were overwhelmed with happiness. Chas stood there and cried tears of joy.
When the ring bearer presented the rings, the happy and hopeful couple each took one and Charlie placed the wedding band on his bride’s finger before saying his vows. Once he was finished, it was Chas’ turn to say hers. She looked lovingly at her husband-to-be as she took her vows.
“…I now pronounce you, husband, and wife. You may kiss the bride.” said the minister.
Charlie took Chas in his arms and kissed her gently.
During the reception, the entire Riddick family got to meet Charlie’s’ new bride. A huge luncheon was held at The Rotunda. The inside of the ballroom was decorated with huge white bows in every corner. Each table was covered with a white satin table cover and topped with a beautiful white candle surrounded with baby’s’ breath in the center. Everything was garnished with pink and white roses and baby’s’ breath. Candles were lit, giving off a romantic setting and there was plenty to eat. A long buffet contained barbecued and fried chicken, pork chops, country style ribs, potato salad, baked beans, corn on the cob, beef steaks, and other foods. Desserts and beverages were also among the smorgasbord of different foods. A huge wedding cake sat in a corner behind the buffet, trimmed with yellow roses and surrounded by bowls of nuts, mints, and wedding punch. The sounds of beautiful music filled the air.
Charlie and Chas took the first slice of cake. The newlyweds fed each other their first bites as the guests took pictures. Then, they picked up their glasses of wedding punch and gave each other a sip of the other’s glasses.
Chas reflected on the night she’d met Charlie, just a few years earlier, which was the night he’d arrested her for drugs and prostitution. It was amazing how things had changed since then. Chas had matured from a young, teenage junkie and prostitute, who loathed cops and had a bitter outlook on the world, to a blushing bride who realized that the night Charlie had arrested her had been the night he had saved her life.
The arrest had been just the swift kick in the pants, she needed to make major changes in her life and redirect her path. Charlie had lit a fire under Chas. He had opened her eyes and made her realize that if she didn’t make changes soon, she would likely end up in prison, or worse, dead in a ditch somewhere.
It had taken a while, but miraculously, Chas had gone from hating Charlie, to loving him, to marrying him. It had not been the typical start to any relationship. Not by any stretch.
When the reception was over, guests threw rice at the newly married couple as they both exited the church. Chas turned around.
“Get ready, all you single ladies out there!”
She tossed the bouquet in the air. Charlie’s’ youngest sister, Brooke caught the bouquet. Next, Charlie removed the garter from Chas’ leg and threw it into the crowd of single men and several of Charlie’s brothers from the Memphis Police Department cheered, whistled and clapped as a smiling Earl leapt in the air, reached for the flying garter and caught it before holding it up for all to see. Lt. Jenkins gave Earl a thumbs’ up.
In front of the church, sat Charlie’s new SUV, a black Ford Explorer, decorated with shaving cream and streamed with bunting. Cans hung from the back of the SUV and the words, “Just Married” were boldly written with soap on the back windshield. He and Chas got into the car and drove off, waving at the cheering guests. They had made reservations at The Blues Hotel, a first-class hotel in downtown Memphis.